Case Studies

Case Studies
Investigate, Track, and Locate People in California


Competitive Intelligence For Business

A business was selling an item online and noticed that a competitor was claiming to sell the same item but for a much cheaper price. The client merchant suspected the competitor was selling counterfeit items. We uncovered the identities of the people selling the goods online and the location of the suspect fake merchandise. We then recovered packaging to tell us the source of the goods. We found samples of the items being sold from legally collecting trash from the suspects’ residence. Sure enough, the items were counterfeit. In a separate investigation, federal authorities indicted the suspects, sending a man in the operation to prison and sentencing a woman to federal probation.

Obtaining Information in a Child Custody Case

A man contacted us stating that he was attempting to get full custody of his daughter from the girl’s mother. He suspected that the woman was not being honest with either him or the court, including not divulging her true address. The first step was running a background check. A search of her driver history found that her license had been suspended. A criminal history check revealed that she was on probation for a recent shoplifting case. Video surveillance accomplished two things: It proved that she was driving on a suspended license with the girl in the car and it uncovered where she was actually lived. The client won custody of his daughter.

Finding a Homeless Witness, the Key to $5 Million

A truck made a right turn at a red light and ran over an elderly woman in a crosswalk. She suffered a broken pelvis and other injuries. One of the first people to help the woman was a homeless veteran who also had witnessed the incident. Mike Spencer canvassed the neighborhood, found the man and took his statement. Spencer also obtained videotape of other trucks owned by the same company failing to stop at the red light at the same intersection. Over the next several months, Spencer kept in touch with the witness. Early on the morning of the deposition, Spencer again had to find the man and bring him into a law office. The man’s testimony was a key factor in the case, which settled for $5 million.

Asset Recovery, a Missing Car

A man came to us because he wanted us to recover a car he had loaned an acquaintance. He wanted the car back without a confrontation. We were able to install a temporary GPS device on his vehicle until we could get it to a better location to recover it. On very short notice we flew to Southern California to physically locate the car, though it was in a private garage. The owner did not have a regular set of extra keys for the vehicle. We had to get an extra set of keys from the auto dealership. The car would not just start by turning a key but could only be started by entering a code into the vehicle by moving the hand brake. Eventually, we located the car and returned it to the client.

Locating a Missing Person for a Grieving Family

A sister and her family had not heard from their brother in more than seven years and didn’t know if he was alive. The sister explained that she needed to find her brother because their parents were in poor health and might not live for much longer. She wanted the entire family together one last time. The sister had previously hired another private investigator, who failed. Spencer developed information that the man was working at a restaurant in San Diego, went there and performed surveillance to confirm it. Spencer put the sister and brother back in touch, and the brother agreed to a reunion.

Charges Dropped in Criminal Defense Case

A man is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and other crimes. His attorney hires us to look at facts of the arrest, inspect the apartment where the arrest occurred, and take witness statements. Police had claimed in the report that items in the room were “in plain view” when they were allowed entry into the residence. However, an inspection of the door and apartment showed that police could not have seen inside the room because their view would have been blocked by the person who answered the door. We take a credible statement from a witness who was in the apartment. We also turn up numerous facts omitted from the police report. The charges are dropped.

The Case of the Straying Businessman

A client calls from Australia because she wants to know what her husband might be doing while he is on business in San Francisco. Surveillance to locate people in California begins at a Union Square hotel. We follow the husband, a man in his 50s, and notice that he is in the company of a woman about 30 years younger. One shot is of them arm-and-arm in Union Square, with her wearing a full-length mink coat and not much else. Video footage is obtained of the two having a grand old time throughout San Francisco. After we obtain the necessary evidence in San Francisco, we follow the younger woman to learn her identity. She is trailed to a mansion on the Peninsula. It is learned that she is a professional escort.